Studying at university can be challenging at times, so it’s not unusual to be thinking about leaving or changing your course. Before you make any big decisions, it’s always a good idea to step back, think about things and seek advice. Remember that taking a break from your studies is also possible, if you are currently experiencing difficulties and need some time away from university.
You may be struggling with money worries, balancing family life or work with studying, or perhaps your wellbeing. Maybe you no longer enjoy your course, and think changing to something new would help, or maybe your career ideas have changed. Whatever it is, the information here should be useful.
What should I do now and who can help me?
The university has a wide range of services and people who can help you if you are thinking about changing or leaving your course. It is very important that you make use of these services, so that you can make the decision that is best for you.
It can be a good idea to work up an action plan too. This can help you to identify the reasons that you are thinking about changing or leaving your course. You can also use this to help you when are you talking to people across the university.
Making your action plan
Think about the reasons why you want to change or leave your course. This could be due to challenges with any of the following:
o Individual modules within your course
o The university
o Finding university level study a challenge
o Financial worries
Once you’ve identified the reasons, you should then get some advice from people across the university on the pros and cons of changing or leaving your course. Doing this can help you decide what to do. Keep some notes on the information you are given, so that you can read through this later on. This will allow you to think things through and come to a decision that’s right for you.
Top tip: keep up with your studies by completing your assessments and attending your lectures and seminars while you are completing your action plan. This will help you to keep your options open in terms of changing your course, and will come across well to employers, if you do decide to leave your course.
Speak to the Careers and Employability service
As part of your action plan, speak to the Careers and Employability Service. We can provide you with impartial support with your decision making. This means that we can talk to you about your options, and signpost you to information and services you might find useful.
For example, if you are studying an arts-based course but decide that you don’t want to pursue a career in this area, our Careers Advisers can talk to you about other career paths that are open to you. We can also give advice on presenting any changes in direction on your future job applications.
The Careers and Employability Service is here to listen to you and provide advice. We won’t tell you what we think you should do, as the decision to leave or change course is yours.
You can book an appointment to speak to a Careers Adviser via My Career Enriched.
Speak to your course tutor
Your course or personal tutor will be able to give you advice that may help you decide whether to change or leave your course, particularly if this is because you aren’t enjoying your current course. Your tutor should be able to give you information on adapting your course to suit your strengths, interests or career plans by changing the modules that you study. They can also signpost you to support with your study skills, if this is something you are finding challenging. You should get some advice from your tutor about transferring to another course.
Speak to the Money Advice Service
It’s important to talk to the University’s Money Advice Service to find out how your entitlement to funding may be affected leaving or changing your course. If you are worried about money and continuing your studies, the service may be able to provide you with information about hardship grants and funding.
Remember that if you decide to leave or change your course, you need to notify student finance. You should find out what funding is available to you if you are changing your course. If you are leaving your course, you will need to check the arrangements for repaying any loans you have already taken out.
You can find out more by visiting the relevant student finance website:
o Student Finance Wales
o Student Awards Agency Scotland
Top tip: be aware of the financial implications of leaving your course.
Leaving your course will mean that you lose any entitlement to tuition fee and maintenance loan payments. You will need to pay back your tuition fees for the time at university. You will pay these back once your earnings pass a certain threshold, just like other graduates. Your student finance organisation will provide you with information on the amount you need to pay back.
You will also need to repay any loans for maintenance costs and may also need to pay for the remainder of any student accommodation costs that you have a contract for, unless you are able to find another student to take your place in the accommodation.
Get in touch: The University’s Money Advice Service has lots of information on managing your money, budgeting and minimising debts.
You can find out more here: https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/Money--Finance/Money-Doctors/
Or contact the Money Advice Service via the Student Enquiry Point.
If you want to change your course
If you want to change your course but remain at the University of Cumbria, it’s a good idea to speak to the admissions tutor for the course you want to join. Remember to ask about the content and structure of the course and find out if it would be a good fit for you.
The Programme Administration offices (PAds) can provide you with further information. You should also speak to them about the processes involved in changing courses within the university.
Details of the PAds based on each university campus can be found here: https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/Your-Studies/Contact-Programme-Administration/
If you want to leave your course and move to another university, you will need to speak to that university’s admissions office. You will need to check whether it is possible to change courses, and if you meet the eligibility requirements. Remember to check whether your previous study will be considered, or whether you will need to make an application to start your degree again from the beginning.
Look after your wellbeing
If you feel you need to, speak to the Mental Health and Wellbeing service. The team can support and advise you in several ways including signposting you to helpful information and services. You can also self-refer for an appointment with a member of the team, who offer counselling, psychotherapy and mental health support.
Find out more here: https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/Health-and-Wellbeing/
Think about how you will communicate changing or leaving your course to employers
Employers are interested in your skills and knowledge and will value qualities like problem solving and resilience. The Careers and Employability Service can help you work out the best way to present your decision to potential employers on your CV and in job applications. Don’t forget that any skills and experience you’ve picked from working alongside your studies will be useful too.
Speak to a Careers Adviser for help with your CV and job applications. You can make an appointment via My Career Enriched.
This information from Target Jobs gives some useful advice on dealing with gaps in your CVs and has some tips on how to account for this when you are job hunting.
- Remember that you have plenty of options and support open to you across the university. We are here to help you!
- Make an action plan.
- Think carefully about why you want to leave or change your course.
- Book an appointment with a Careers Adviser to talk about what types of career paths are open to you.
- Speak to your course or personal tutor about how you are feeling. If you are struggling with your course, they may be able to suggest things that can help.
- Explore your options if you want to change your course. Remember to speak to a course admissions tutor if you want to stay at the University of Cumbria, or an admissions officer if you want to move to a different university.
- Look after your wellbeing – contact the Mental Health and Wellbeing team if you need to.
- Keep plenty of notes on the conversations you have, to help you reflect on the information you’ve been given.
- Have a chat with a close friend or family member to get their insight.
- If you are worried about money, contact the Money Advice Service.
- Remember to contact the PAdand your student finance organisation if you decide to take a break, change or leave your course. Details of the PAds based on each University campus can be found here: https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/Your-Studies/Contact-Programme-Administration/